Garden Bloggers Blooms Day: Hesperaloe parviflora
Sometimes a plant gets under your skin; one to be pursued no matter how hard the chase might be. Hesperaloe parviflora - aka Red Yucca - proved to be such a plant for my garden.
I first came across it in Austin at the Garden Bloggers Fling last year. It's a native plant to Texas and was found pretty much in everyone's garden; also at the gorgeous organic nursery we visited in the rain; and thanks to the legacy of Lady Bird Johnson and the wonderful work of the Wildflower Center which bears her name, it's seen along all the roads and freeways around the city.
Of course it's a key plant for xeriscaping, its tough agave-like rosette leaves - without the skin piercing spikes and with intriguing 'stringy bits' (my technical term) - are ideally adapted for the harsh Texan conditions and whilst I'd mentally named it my plant of the Fling, with a sigh of regret I'd also consigned it to the 'not suitable for my garden' pile of potential plants.
However, that plant stayed with me long after I came home and I researched what kind of conditions this plant likes. There are only a couple of specialist nurseries that stock it, but when I looked at Tropical Britain's helpful site, I got very excited. In the detailed description it says:
"Because it is fully hardy if given good drainage and can withstand hard freezes to as low as -25 C it is an ideal plant for British and European gardens."
That's when I got excited. There's a huge pot on the patio in need of an architectural plant which can withstand the high temperatures I get there in the summer. A pot would mean better drainage than the clay soil in the rest of my garden, so suddenly I had the possibility of owning the plant I'd fallen in love with.
Except all the nurseries were out of stock.
But then unusually for me I was prepared to wait...
...Scroll forward to this year's Chelsea Flower Show and Sarah Eberle's Resilience garden to commemorate the Forestry Commission's hundredth anniversary. It highlighted the issue of climate change and how our future plant palette may need to change.
"What's that plant over there?" said my friend Ian, who pointed to the group of wispy looking plants you can see at the bottom left of the photo.
The show garden must have had dozens of them, which I think explains their unavailability when I looked for one. That garden must have hoovered up the entire UK supply, if not beyond.
I also realised Crocus, the nursery which supplied the show garden, sells off its plants afterwards. A quick look at its website and at last a Hesperaloe would be mine.
And here it is, newly planted last week and proudly posing amongst the Erigeron and rampant fig tree.
I LOVE it 😍
Garden Bloggers Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.